Shhh: India’s best mango pickles come from here

D.P. SATISH writes from New Delhi: This small, Mangalore-tiled house is a landmark in Sagar in the Malnad region of Karnataka. Seetharama Bhat, who is famously known as Uppinakayi Bhattru has been selling the best Appe Midi Uppinakayi—pickles made from tiny mangoes—from this address for over 40 years.

Almost anyone in Malnad can make Appe Midi. But nobody can beat Uppinakayi Bhattru at the craft.

He does everything on his own, he chooses his own ingredients, and his recipe is a closely guarded secret. And, on top of it, Bhatttru is not your typical pickle maker. Sometimes his fearful moods keep people away; he even refuses to sell his appe midi pickles to people whom he does not like.

During April-May, he scouts for the best mangoes in and around Shimoga district. Normally, he gets it from Rippon pete (a small town between Sagar and Thirthahalli). If he does not get it there, he goes to Sringeri, Koppa, Sirsi and even Hassan. And he buys the best red chilly from Byadagi in neighbouring Haveri district.

There have been occasions when Uppinakayi Bhattru has made no pickles due to shortage of good appe midi or red chilly or both.

On an average he makes over 10 quintals of Appe Midi every year. Most of his clients are regular buyers. Half his appe midi produce travels to the middle-east and the United States during monsoon. Professionals can learn the art of water tight/air tight packing from him.

Bhat, a native of undivided Dakshina Kannada district, came to Sagar almost 50 years ago. He became a disciple of a famous ayurvedic doctor and astrologer Govinda Pandit and worked with him till his guru’s death.

Result: lots of people even today come to Bhattru‘s house for astrological consultations. But he entertains only four clients on a first-come, first-served basis. Sometimes, when he is in the mood he asks customers, who have come for the pickles, to reveal their date of birth, year etc and predicts their future.

At times, he may even ask them to show their palms. If they are lucky, they can go back with a pack of appe midi in hand!

Whenever he is in a good mood, he also repairs watches and wall clocks.

He is also aware of Italian traveler Pietro della Valle‘s comments on the unmatched skill of the people of Sagar in making the best mango pickles.

Pietro travelled through the domains of Keladi Nayaks and even spent six months at Ikkeri (the second capital of the Keladi rulers, which is 6 km from Sagar town). He wrote that the rulers of Gerusoppa and Ikkeri ate a large quantity of rice and ghee with spicy mango pickle, thrice a day.

Uppinakayi Bhattru has helped sustain a grand tradition across the globe. If you couldn’t read the phone number below the name plate, it is 9242839837.

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38 Responses to “Shhh: India’s best mango pickles come from here”

  1. B k chowla Says:

    Aha,WalMart might source from him.Wait till they say this in the parliament

  2. dr ramesh Says:

    Mr. D. P. Satish, very good article, appreciate it.
    For vegetarians hailing from malnad and karavali regions, APPE MIDI UPPINAKAAYI is pure magic, its an indulgence, once gotten into, difficult to come out of, remember, LOKNATH in the movie BOOTHAYYANA MAGA AYYU.
    SAAGARA, even RIPPONPET – a small, picturesque town near HOSANAGARA is also famous for APPE MIDI, also exported to many countries.

  3. M V Rangaraajan Says:

    This world contains really amazing people; we always go after celebrity hovering in the air but fail to recognize gems at ground level, except for few blessed ones.

  4. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Nice story. Makes my mouth water for some appe midi.

    BTW internet search led to a thing I didnt know: Ripponpete was named after Lord Ripon (George Frederick Samuel Robinson, son of the then prime minister of Great Britian), Viceroy of India in the 1880s. Lord Ripon was responsible for many liberal (towards Indians) policies, including one law (which was blocked by parliament), which would allow Indian judges jurisdiction over Europeans. From wikipedia:

    “He was also instrumental in supporting Dietrich Brandis to reorganize the Madras Forest Department and expand systematic forest conservancy in India. He is still revered in Chennai (formerly Madras), India. The Corporation of Chennai’s Ripon Building was named for him, as well as the town of Riponpet in the Shivamogga district in the state of Karnataka”

  5. Jothindra Paranji Says:

    Some specialisation this!

  6. induramesh Says:

    Remember my school days in Hosanagara in the early fifties of the last century. Mother used to get someone to come and make the appe midi. Where can we get the appe midi by bhatru in Bangalore?

  7. Kembootha Says:

    Mr. Rangarajan, Can’t agree more with you! It takes all kinds of people to make this world the place it is. However the non-deserving ones walk away with the accolades mostly. How unfair!

    Now, I’m looking for an article on another favourite from the malnad region : kokum!

  8. Sushitha bhat Says:

    Mr. D. P. Satish, very good article,and thank you very much for writing about my dad…:)and I am very proud to say that i am his daughter….

  9. Sanjeeva Says:

    Ah, something to appreciate amidst all depressing news all around us!

  10. shiv Says:

    Excellent article.You made my day.As a vadumango die hard ( tamil word for small tender mango) I try to get different species of it to make pickles.During my last visit to udipi, I did buy a consignment which was good but still lower in flavour compared to the ones I get from Palghat.I thought palghat is the place for tender mangoes but never knew Malnad district offers similar delights.Since the mangoes are seasonal when is the right time to visit Mr seetharam Bhat? Though many chauvinists disagree, I for one who has traveled length and breadth of this country is continually delighted to find how many things we do, we eat, we pray, we dress connect us more than divide us.This article is one such.MrBhatt exemplifies the professionalism which is not seen in any of our English educated professionals like doctors,engineers,scientists or software un”professionals who should learn from him what professionalism is all about.Instead all these so called “professionals” are in fact money grabbers with scant respect or even love for their work or for other humans.No wonder Mr Bhatt decides whom to sell his ware, our ugly unprofessional ism must be driving him away.

  11. gayathri s Says:

    Mr D.P. Satish, its a very good article.appreciate it.thank u very much for writing about my dad.i am very proud to say that i am his daughter.once again thank u so much Mr d p satish.

  12. dr ramesh Says:

    It is interesting that best appe midi uppinakaayi in malnad region is madeby highly traditional, rigorous methods involving culinary and rustic botanical knowledge. No short cuts for quality.
    Nanjangud baalehannu was patented, is appemidi on the way?

  13. NS Rao Says:

    Nice article!!
    Again – another question to Satish / Sushitha – where is this available in Bangalore?

  14. prajwalpai Says:

    I bought pickles from here last month :)

    @NS Rao : Its not available in Bangalore, But he mentioned that he takes orders on phone and regularly couriers pickle to many ppl in Bangalore.
    His phone num is mentioned in the end of that blog.

  15. kiran jettimane Says:

    Appe midi uppinakayi it is “Kannadigas special” !!!!
    Hosanagara taluk is very famous for Appe Midi in that ‘jeerige midi’ we treat it is like a ‘gold’ !!! . I am proud to be from the ‘Land of Appe midi’ !!!

  16. NS Rao Says:

    Thanks Prajwalpai – will call him and get the pickles :-)

  17. Suresh Panje Says:

    Believe me, I was under the impression that Sagar is famous only for the matcheless Gudigar artisans who carved commendable artistic artefacts out of sandalwood and other woods. Well, reading about this versatile personality of Bhattru, I am an enlightened person now.

    As for Appemidi mangoes, my mouth waters although I am not a regular consumer of pickles. Appemidi mangoes are renowned for their quality. So much so, the ITC was unaware about this aspect of Appemidi mangoes gelling with pickles. If so, it would not have ventured with its ‘Made For Each Other’ contest to promote the Wills Filter cigarettes during the mid-60s and early-70s.

    All said and done, may the tribe of Seetharama Bhat increase and I wish that he shares the secret of the proportion of various ingredients for his popular pickle that even goes all the way to Dubai with his successor(s)!

    Suresh Panje
    New Delhi

  18. Mysore Peshva Says:

    So beautiful!

  19. Sushitha bhat Says:

    @NS Rao:
    9242839837 this is my dad’s mobile number…you can cal him and give your address…and surely he will couriers pickle .:)

  20. Soumya Says:

    The king of pickles… undoubtedly!

  21. D P SATISH Says:

    Uppinakayi Bhattru’s contact number is 9242839837. You can call him for his bank account number. If you transfer the money, he will courier Appe Midi Uppinakayi to you.

    He has no outlet. Please be polite with him!! He has mood swings!!

  22. dr ramesh Says:

    Just got a new consignment of appemidi uppinakayi from my uncle who resides in hosanagara. Along with appemidi crisp halasinakaayi chips is also very good in sagara, hosanagara belt.
    Kokum— kokum juice is very good for gastric problems and also has anti emetic properties. Sirsi, yellapur is famous for that.

  23. Usha Bharathadri Says:

    Wah !!!Nivu tandu kotta appe midiya hinde estu adbuta kathe ide. Thks. Dehaliyalli mosarannada jote ee midi tinnode ondu adbuta!!!

  24. nikhil Says:

    hattiradavaru ondu facebook page open maadidre. alle demand , payment gateway, advertisement ella shuru madabahudu.

    even blog page will help out.
    shivamogga is hotbed of politics. wonder when it learns IT.
    we are dying to see our people on net.

    .

  25. madhusudhan B S Says:

    good article , gave a refreshing air

  26. 'mudi' malnad Says:

    @ DPS
    good article!
    I’m not a uppinakayi fan, but these are Awesome!
    Few years ago, there was someone in Balehonnur ( chickmagalur dist) was making pickles, those were good too.

  27. Sudhindra Says:

    I lived in Sagara Agrahaara near Shivalingappa school. My neighbor used to sell Uppinakayi and Halisina Appala. Good old days.

  28. Doddi Buddi Says:

    I would contest …”Almost anyone in Malnad can make Appe Midi. But nobody can beat Uppinakayi Bhattru at the craft…”
    Depends on what culinary traditions you were raised on. I find it very hard to accept these gushing tributes. Thanks.

  29. Gaampa Says:

    Such happiness in reading the story of my birth town, Sagara. My grandpa was a well known figure in Malnad region in sixties and seventies. Sagara Sagara.

  30. chidu22 Says:

    Uttara Karnataka, we have midigayi uppinakayi, will surely give this one a run for its money. We relish along with various chatnis viz agasi, gurelu, shenga, ranjaka( Khara ), Kari eendi, etc to name a few. The list is endless. Always a great accomplice with all types rottis. Happalas are great here too. Namma adige adbhuta.

  31. Venu Vinod K S Says:

    nice article..
    here is link for my article on appe midi sheshamma of rippon pet
    http://venuvinod.blogspot.in/2007/07/blog-post_15.html

  32. vijay Says:

    Does Mr. Seetharama Bhat do astrological consultation on Phone- can any one help me with this

  33. bellary brother Says:

    I want a few suitcases of this mouth-watering appe midi.

  34. DORAI RAJ S.N. Says:

    The man’s attitude and his passion for the chosen field of activity did create an inner ripples to all those who read this piece of information. Let’s all follow his principles of perfection. DORAI RAJ

  35. Seinfeld fan Says:

    Reminds me of the soup nazi!

  36. Shrinidhi Hande Says:

    Long live Mr Bhat. He could have easily made another MTR like brand and minted money…

  37. Deepak Says:

    For those who can’t go to Sagar to buy uppinakayi, the next best thing is Shiva Shakthi stores in Malleswaram 8th cross (opp. Janatha Hotel). The mavinakayi uppinakayi and the mavinakayi thokku are exceptional. Like the rajas of gersoppa and ikkeri, you can find pleasure with hot rice and ghee with a big dollop of thokku on top. Ah! What a taste!!

  38. Sathi Says:

    Great Bhatru…… Great taste………. Please pass on this tradition to your successors Bhatre…..

    Please visit these links to get inf. on Appe Midi….http://www.deccanherald.com/content/160204/appe-midi-mangoes-threat.html and http://infochangeindia.org/other/features/save-the-appemidi.html

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